by Craig Regala
Somewhere in Joe Carducci’s epoch-defining Rock and the Pop Narcotic he mentions how the SubPop “thing” — early on when they were realigning rock music — was part of the ethos similar to the collision when mid-’60s greaser met late ’60s hippie (i.e. Blue Cheer). This CD does the same thing with hippie rock and heavy metal. It’s fluid, heavy and rolling rather than taut punk influenced, hi-tech, or industrial. Akin to removing any of the nascent prog moves Sabbath dipped into in favor of the riffs and post-whiteboy blues/R&B they used to create the creaking monster they worked into metal proper after a couple LPs. Like Solarized, Eternal Elysium heard all those Hendrix, Santana, Frank Marino records everyone’s cool uncle had, but it didn’t fuck ’em up.
If you really like Sheavy and want something similar, buy this. Not just as a genre slice but because they’re pretty good. The songwriting and playing is a-OK, the stuff’s crafted enough that it isn’t just “blast at a riff and hope it sticks” gunk, and the non-riffy parts owe more to heavy psych like the great Nipponese crew White Heaven (their Out disc’s a stone fucking classic) than the annoying “I noodle therefore I am” power drop that bugs me about most jammy/hippie stuff. The last cut does have flute and acoustic plinking, etc., thankfully it’s done in the zonked free jazz/folk/traditional Japanese way Ghost does when they wander around.